WASHINGTON — SpaceX founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk is one of the “100 Most Influential People in U.S. Defense,” according to Defense News.

The weekly trade publication, which is produced across the hall from SpaceNews, honored Musk for “breaking into a [U.S. military launch] business that had been cornered exclusively by United Launch Alliance,” the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture that launches the vast majority of national security payloads.

“Musk is not a defense executive, but his vision and enterprise cannot be ignored,” Defense News wrote in its Dec. 17 issue.

In early December, the U.S. Air Force awarded Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) a $262 million contract for a late-2014 Falcon 9 launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory space weather monitoring satellite and a 2015 Falcon Heavy launch of the Space Test Program-2 satellite. Falcon 9 has flown four times, including its June 2010 debut. The Falcon Heavy is still in development.

Musk placed 61st on the list of 100, one spot behind U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning (No. 60) — the former intelligence analyst being court-martialed for allegedly transmitting hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks — and one spot ahead of retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden (No. 62), the former National Security Agency and CIA director.

Other space notables on the list include Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler (No. 81), commander of U.S. Strategic Command, and former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe (No. 64), who currently is serving as chief executive of EADS North America.

Several aerospace chief executives with large space portfolios also made the list. They include Raytheon’s William Swanson (No. 56), Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson (No. 67), Northrop Grumman’s Wes Bush (No. 72) and BAE Systems’ Linda Hudson (No. 90).


You can read the full list as www.defensenews.com.

Brian Berger is editor in chief of SpaceNews.com and the SpaceNews magazine. He joined SpaceNews.com in 1998, spending his first decade with the publication covering NASA. He was named senior staff writer in 2004, a position he held...